Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Barbara Hale Films
- Coming of Age
- Gary Busey Films
Writer-director John Milius — perhaps best known as screenwriter for Apocalypse Now (1979) and director of Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Red Dawn (1984) — helmed this semi-autobiographical paean to surfing and White-male coming-of-age during the 1960s. Apparently George Lucas and Steven Spielberg thought this flick would be “the American Graffiti of surfing films”:
… but it was a box office flop; indeed, I was interested but not surprised to read this bit of trivia on IMDb:
Warner Bros. initially budgeted $5,000,000 for this film, but production costs went way over that figure, finally costing the studio $11,000,000. Anthea Sylbert, an executive at Warner Bros. at the time, in an interview in the 30 August 1981 edition of the Boston Globe newspaper, said the film was “…a classic example of an egomaniacal man going over budget and not listening to anyone.”
Watching it now, it’s easy to see why only some viewers — i.e., surfing lovers — would find it appealing, since these scenes are (minimally) what keep it afloat, so to speak.
The only half-way interesting sequences are those set in the draft office, which presumably represent how chaotic this scene was.
Otherwise, there is really nothing to enjoy or appreciate about these boring characters and the exceedingly lame dialogue: “Who knows where the wind comes from; is it the breath of God?”
Note: Barbara Hale had the dubious notoriety of appearing here in her final film role, playing mother to her own (real-life) son.
Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:
- Bruce Surtees’ cinematography
Nope; this one is strictly must-see for surfing enthusiasts. Listed as a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.